Sunday, September 12, 2010

Givers & Takers: Which one are you?

For as long as I can remember, I have been lucky enough to live a life where I have been influenced by givers.  Nonetheless, as the ebb and flow of life would have it, I have also shared the journey with many a taker along the way.  Seems to me that is always how it works though, one cannot exist without the other being around.

You see, I have summed up all of humanity into two groups on the journey, givers and takers.  Those two descriptions have no race, religion, education, demographic title, or sex.  At your core nature, you are one or the other.  Can you be both?  Sure can.  Can one be aware either in themselves and decide to take advantage of those others who meet their needs through their opposite nature?  We see it all the time.  Simply put, one can't exist without the other but within the balance of both is an ideal civilization.

How would I define a giver?  They are your helping hands in life, the 'go to' friends, those who look out for others and give of themselves to not only their friends, but to complete strangers. A giver is the person who will actually be bothered to stop and help when you are in distress on the side of the road when their gut tells them they should be.  Givers tend to see the good in humanity, they answer the call for help when requested, and they're always ready, willing, and able to make a difference no matter how small.  They're entire life might not revolve around giving, i.e. volunteering all of their time and resources to others but they're still givers.  One can be a giver in their own family and circle of friends.

Takers, sometimes they have big ol' neon signs above their heads for all the world to see.  Their motives are front and center.  They're there to use and abuse until you're all used up and they move on.  Worse yet, sometimes they are disguised.  An example of a disguised taker would be someone in your life whom you feel the need to help, who seems to be on a good path in life, who seems to be trying to do the right things, when in reality they are not doing anything at all.

A small real life example is a friend of mine who owns a barn full of horses, some her own, some that are boarded there.  This woman is a giver through and through and as such, she has a soft spot for helping others.  For a while there was someone in her life who was there to care for the horses, a young woman who'd had some tough breaks in life, whom this woman wanted to see blossom into a strong resilient young woman.  Problem was, this young woman, time and time again was not responsible 100% of the time.  After all, these are living animals that require commitment and follow through.  The woman who owned the barn, being the giver and wanting the younger woman to rise above, would time and time again give her chances to do the right thing.  Finally, the giver woman had to realize that the younger woman was taking advantage of her kindness and that she had to let her go, that no matter how much she wanted to help, the taker had to help herself too.

How many of us currently have or have had people in our life who take advantage of our good natures, of our giver mentalities?  Some givers I know turn hard to this, they let the takers of the world extinguish their light, they shut themselves off and they stop giving.  If you're one of them I ask that you reexamine the power you've handed over to the these other people that jaded you along the way.  Think about it, when givers unite amazing things happen in the world.  I'm not talking about monetary giving either but that's a tangible example, i.e. world disaster aid relief.  Simply listening and sharing your knowledge on a subject to someone else benefits humanity.  If the takers of the world exhaust the givers the planet is basically screwed.  

The majority of the world's givers just get wiser for the wear and find it easier to recognize the 'in disguise' takers of their lives and are able to prune them away once recognized.  Is that an easy process?  No, but it's necessary to keep balance in your own life.

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